Spring Cleaning - Laundry Room

I don't know why but whenever I start cleaning our house I ALWAYS start with the laundry room.  It's probably the most inconspicuous room in the house so I don't really understand my logic but I guess it just feels good to have the room that holds everything that's dirty, namely clothes, clean.  So of course that's where I began my spring cleaning.  This year spring cleaning has become not only that but also, get-our-house-ready-to-be-bought time.  That means that every room I clean, I make sure light bulbs are all working, if there are any paint touch-ups that need to happen happen, etc...  Oh yeah, and I'm purging too.  Meet Mr. Tupperware:
I'm carrying him from room to room and filling him with things in said room that don't belong anymore...a.k.a. stuff we haven't used in a long time, don't need anymore, whatever will make life a little less cluttered.  :)

So, yes, the laundry room.  Since garages aren't popular down here in the South, our tools and such are stored in our laundry room.  Lucky for us, our laundry room is big, measuring 8.5' by 8', so one whole wall is dedicated to tools, drying racks, paint stuff, recyclables, and other things.

To begin my cleaning process (cause y'all know it's a process, especially "spring cleaning"...they don't give it a name for nothin') I started with the elephant in the room (to me anyway) - our one and only junk drawer.  I loathe junk drawers and I hate that we have one.  My philosophy is that everything has a place, and if not, give it away.  Well, here it is:
Ugh!  It's mainly screws, bolts, and lots of other DIY knick-knacks but it drives me bonkers!  How we even find what we need to DIY is beyond me!

Well, thankfully, a trip to the dollar store for $2 worth of little storage bins solved our junk drawer crisis. 
See?  Much better.  I can sleep easier at night...

A little bit of sorting and cleaning later and our entire drawer system was organized.
I love being organized!  And yes, that whole drawer on the bottom right is spray paint.  It's an ask-Santa-for-it thing for me.  :) 

Look!  I even punched and hung our ever-growing collection of paint swatches on a handy dandy ring!

If you're thinking by now that I might be a little obsessive...you're right!  It runs in my family.  (By the way, all this cleaning jazz is coming from the girl who used to stuff clothes, shoes, and anything else in the way of not getting to go to a sleepover, under her bed, dressers, and night stands...my how the tables have turned.  I guess sitting in the "ucky basement" proved to be a worthy punishment Rock.)

On I moved to the dryer.  I love our dryer but for some reason, the lint filter isn't the best little lint filter in the world.  So, every 6 months or so I get out the shop vac and suck up what's not been captured.  Horror stories about dryer lint catching fire have brought me to this.
On a side note:  As I was unscrewing the plastic piece that holds the filter in place, I had the radio on in the other room, and if you know me, you know I love singing.  So I was singing with the radio with my head, arms, and shoulders all inside the dryer and let me tell you - with the steel drum it's like I had my own recording studio.  The sound is awesome in there!  There's a perfect echo and great surround sound!  Get a mic and a dryer and you don't even need to go anywhere to record!

So anyway, that's the extent of my cleaning so far.  The entire room is spotless - baseboards, cupboards, ex-junk drawer, you name it.  Now I move on to washing the one window on the door, inside and out, fixing an 'oops' drop of water on wet paint I committed on the inside of the door, and getting out a tiny rust spot on the outside...by the way, anyone know how to do that?  Oh, and here's what Mr. Tupperware came away with:
New grass fertilizer, a bunch of rags (we have tons), old drawer pulls, and parts for window screens.  After a trip to ReStore, even he'll be all clean!
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Anyone else spring cleaning?  Anyone else not get up the motivation yet?  You can clean along with me and then tell me about it!  I know it's sounds daunting and boring but writing about it makes it so much more fun!  After I finish the door (which I'll tell y'all about after I've solved our tiny rust problem), I'm moving on to our kitchen.  Get those rubber gloves on ladies (and gents...Crappa and Booguy) and get your clean on!  :) 


This is a story about a rod iron bench we inherited from our very good friends...actually, we asked if we could have it.  :)  It was sitting unused (missing quite a few slats) in their backyard and they had replaced it with another bench.  Liking the idea of making it the subject of one of our projects and thinking it would look rather nice on our porch (which at the time was bare), we snatched it up and brought it home...er, down the street.  Then starts the project.

First, we broke out all of the remaining, deteriorating slats and got it down to the bare iron.
Then, I'm assuming that by looking at the worn-nature of the iron and knowing me, you can probably guess what came next...
Yep!  Spray paint!  Hammered brown Rustoleum spray paint to be exact.

Here's a great picture showing the difference between what's painted and what's not...I love spray paint!

After it was spray painted, it took temporary residence on our front porch, waiting to be completed.
I know, it looks a little funny without the actual 'bench' part but time got away from us in finishing it.
So on our porch it sat until Anthony came home one day with a thrown out wicker set I quickly took under my wing, which took over the porch and moved our little, unfinished bench to the backyard where it sat unfinished for 5 months...until last weekend.

After quickly measuring the lengths the slats should be and the slots they fit into, we headed to Lowe's Saturday morning to pick up some wood.  We decided to grab pressure-treated wood over other, nicer, unfinished types because, since the bench is outside and will be subject to the sometimes crazy weather of the South, it will last much longer and is made for the great outdoors.  Plus, it was a quarter of the price and wouldn't need to be stained or polyed (pollied?  poly-ed?  whatever, you know what I mean.)  Homeward bound we went with our 4 planks of wood (costing us $12), all set to be cut in half when we got there.

Two sawhorses, a circular saw, a drywall square, an hour, and two beans later...
and we have ourselves a finished bench!  The pressure-treated wood gives it a rustic look that I can't wait to dress up a little with some throw pillows!

Herb update:  The herbs we planted last weekend are sprouting!  We're happy to announce that just because a seed packet says it's seeds are only meant for planting during one season, doesn't mean they won't come up the year after!  Aka...don't throw out extra herb seeds from this year just because they say they'll expire!  Use them next year!  :)  (Disclaimer:  this works for oregano and basil (so far).  We can't speak for other seeds.)

Spring Has Sprung & the Beans Have Begun

Yep, it's here!  The cold weather, bare branches, and brown landscapes are all a thing of the past!  For us it means not only do we (in saying "we" I mean "I") have to start spring cleaning (which of course I'm going to write about since projects are at a minimum...and because I have a rhyme to my spring cleaning reason this year) but also that we get to spend time outside primping, pruning, and planting! 
That's exactly what we did this past Saturday.  We finally had a weekend home (the past three weekends have been spent in hotel rooms) so we took advantage of the gorgeous, 74 degree weather, and went on a date in our very own backyard. 

Here's what we accomplished:

Herbs planted - cilantro, basil, and oregano.  Amazingly enough, the chives we planted last year survived our quite chilly winter, whereas the other three were dead by November.  Not wanting to waste (or spend more moolah), I used the rest of the seeds left over from last year even though on the package it says they're only to be used for the 2010 planting season and expired in November 2010.  Well, using my maybe crazy reasoning, I thought "Well, they're only five months past expiration so I'm gonna give it a whirl."  I let you know how, and if, they grow.  :)  Anyone else have luck with expired seeds? 

We also got on the tomato train again this year and planted tomatoes.  The tomato plants we planted last year turned out so great that we couldn't not do it again!  Except, this year we went with cherry tomatoes.  Not sure why we didn't do that last year but we use those the most and find them more flavorful than the big ones.  One change from last year - I spray painted the pots to add more color to our backyard.  I felt like the gray color they were blended in too much with the gray-green paint on our house.  I contemplated painting them a bright color but then went a safer route and with navy blue to match our chair cushions, thinking I'd add color with flowers.
 Notice the little table between the two chairs in the background?  :)  Well, you see, we have a pile of bricks left to us by the previous owner that just sit near the side of our house and so I had this bright, maybe a little cheesy, but FREE idea to stack some up, place a round stepping stone I found behind our shed on top, and create a little place to host a pot of flowers...just don't have the flowers yet.  :)

So far, our little backyard oasis is coming along.  A big thanks to our hand-me-down patio set (hailing from the houseful of college boys Anthony used to live with), the $5 cushions on the patio chairs I found a few years ago at our old grocery store at the end of summer, the hand-me-down pair of white chairs, the hand-me-down charcoal grill, and various pots soon to be filled with tomatoes, herbs, and flowers.  All we need is some Beller Beef and we'll have our own vacation spot at home!  It's going to be a great summer!

P.S.  That's not all we did in our backyard last weekend.  Find out later this week what other project we finally finished!

I've Come A Long Way

My side 'job' recently has been sorting, organizing, and hunting down clearance photo albums to make sense of my life and Anthony's life in pictures.  As of two weeks ago, all of our pictures were piled in complete chaos in a plastic bin and stuffed inside our guestroom closet.  At the present moment, the plastic bin is now being used to hold recyclables and the organized piles of pictures are cheerfully awaiting their new homes in albums I have yet to find.
So anyway, as I was organizing I came across some pictures I thought I'd share that show just how far I've come in DIY.


I think these were both taken at Grandma's house and I'm pretty sure Grandma and Grandpa were laughing pretty hard at my diligent effort to lessen their work load.  :)  Thankfully, I've come a long way in the mowing area...and the decorating area for that matter considering lipstick was my (and my accomplice's) first choice of wall paint as a child...but that's another story...

Stack 'Em

Whew!  I feel like I've been on a blogging sabbatical!  I've been reminiscing lately about the very day I started this blog - Anthony had his nose in a book for grad school and I was as bored as a fly in a jar.  Man has life changed!  These days I barely have time to dry my hair much less relax and "journal" on my blog.  It's bittersweet though, you see, because I love being busy but I also love being able to relax and pour out my thoughts, ambitions, and recent projects here.  Which is why I've set a goal for myself to get out one post per week until this summer, at which point our lives will slow down and you may even see Anthony starting to post.  :)
But anyway, on to my recent concoction.

We registered for and received these water glasses for our wedding... 
 except we only have 11 left (out of 20).  How did we get here?  Well, this one's all Anthony.  Most (if not all) of them were lost while doing dishes...he's a very passionate person and he always talks with his hands and when you combine those two things with doing dishes, well, let's just say we've cleaned our fair share of broken glass out of our sinks.
The remaining, unbroken (for now anyway) glasses have been taking up space in a top shelf and I've been going back and forth about just donating them to free up cabinet space.

In come the flowers and the light bulb inside my crazy head.  For my early birthday present, my Aunt sent me a beautiful bouquet (thank you again Auntie Angie) which went immediately to the center of our kitchen table.  A few nights later we held a Saint Valentine's dinner for our youth group and I was graciously given a leftover centerpiece to take home - which ironically had in it the same exact bunch of flowers I had received in my Aunt's bouquet.  So, to make a long, overly drawn out thought process in my head shorter (because believe me, I could go on), I took out those glasses, stacked a few, and made my own colorful additions to the already existing, but lonely birthday bouquet.

I even stuck a candle in one for good measure, just to show how old glasses can turn into vases or candle holders or even to showcase something small if you turn them upside down.  My point, as always, is that there are endless ways to use what you have to create something new...for free.

Well, so long, can't stay.  It's 3 o'clock and I have to finish folding laundry, rush out the door and make a quick we-are-almost-completely-out-of-food grocery run (which won't be quick, really), make a drop-off to the Goodwill on my way to picking up my God daughter's birthday present, which is on the way to Studium - an hour-long presentation held at our church once a month by our priest, after which I'm sitting in on our parish's RCIA class with Anthony, only to run to Kohl's on our way home and use the $20 in Kohl's cash we have before our 30% coupon runs out tomorrow (because we can't not save more money), then come home, make dinner (or late-night munchies, which by that time it will be), and then fall into bed wiped out ready to start all over tomorrow.  :)
Does anyone else know how I feel?  You do?  Maybe we should start a support group...Hi, my name is Sheena and I just can't stop... 

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P.S.  I know I mentioned I'd be posting about my blinds project and I will. That one's just going to require a little more time of which I'm lacking presently.  Stay tuned!